SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Facebook buttonHere’s a GOOD change with the new Facebook Timeline that will actually make social media marketing easier.

Now you can schedule your posts on FB just like on 3rd party tools like Hootsuite. Just click the little clock down in the left-hand corner of the status-update box and it’ll let you pick year/month/day for your post to go live.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

The day dawned bright and hopeful for Facebook as the company looked forward to it’s first day as a publicly traded company. Unfortunately, it didn’t end that way.

See the the full Washington Post article.Facebook button

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Facebook buttonFor most businesses, Facebook is a force-to-be-reckoned-with when it comes to social marketing. It is by far the most popular social site on the web–at the moment–as shown in these stats from eMarketer.

Is Facebook really the best social marketing site for your biz?

According to the latest data from eMarketer, Facebook is by far the largest social network, with more than 900 million monthly active users. It also leads in average time on site with 405 minutes per visitor. Tumblr follows next at 89 minutes (tied with Pinterest). Twitter runs third at 21 minutes. LinkedIn comes in 4th at 17 minutes, and MySpace 5th at 8 minutes. Google+ plods in a distant 6th at just 3 minutes.

By all appearances, Facebook would seem to be the best choice for any marketer looking to drive business with social media. But that’s not always the case.

Facebook’s size can actually be detrimental for social marketing in several different ways:

  1. Unless you know who your target market is and how to reach them–and only them–among the millions of FB users you’ll pour a lot of time, trouble and resources into marketing that will end in disappointment.
  2. As big as Facebook is, it may not be where the majority of your target market hang out. Depending on your industry, very often niche-specific forums and social sites will yield much richer marketing results than Facebook.
  3. YouTube is morphing from a “video-sharing” site into a social network wrapped around video interests. In our experience with several different niches, treating YT as a social networking site, where we spend time building and engaging a following for our clients, YT yields much better ROI than Facebook.

So, the moral of the story is… before you jump too deeply into Facebook, make sure you have a specific purpose. Make sure it’s a rich field for your target market. And don’t ignore other social properties simply because Facebook appears to be the 800-pound gorilla of the moment.

What kind of ROI are you experiencing with your Facebook social marketing? Would you consider it excellent, good, acceptable or dismal?

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Study finds importance of professional content marketing

Old typewriter keys - 300px, Morgue Files image siteHere’s an excellent article on the importance of high-quality content marketing. Today, marketers in businesses of all sizes and industries are discovering that high-quality, professionally-written content is key to successful online marketing.

Not surprising. If you’ve ever tried to read an article or website that had been “written” for the search engines instead of human beings (crowded with keywords, illogicial sentence structure, etc., etc.) you know what I mean. It not only casts a poor light on the writer, it casts a poor light on the company who hired him/her.

The following article takes a look at a recent survey among marketers, and the importance they’re now putting on the quality of content—not just the quantity—for successful online marketing.

Study finds importance of professional content marketing

Social content, blogging, press releases and online articles are the forms of content used most often by marketers according to the survey by Readex Research, sponsored by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Brandpoint. Marketers see the best results from social content, e-newsletters and blogging.

What’s more, 80 percent of survey respondents said they are willing to pay more for the added value of well-crafted, customized, professionally written copy.

“We consistently hear from our clients that creative and engaging storytelling, customization and professional-level writing are priorities,” says David Olson, senior vice president at Brandpoint. “The survey results bear this out, as respondents cited those qualities as the ones they consider most important when evaluating an outsourcing partner for their content needs.”

The majority (82 percent) of marketers said it’s more important that their website and blog copy be written for people rather than search engines. In fact, SEO expertise ranked fifth among the list of 11 qualities marketers want in a content provider. Marketers consider cost and high volume at a quick turnaround least important when choosing an outsourcing partner to produce content for them.

Marketers also recognize the value of outsourcing. Seventy percent of survey respondents said they plan to outsource content production in the next 12 months. The top three forms of content they plan to outsource are video, infographics and online articles.

Three takeaways about content marketing:

  1. Don’t look for great content from 20-year-olds selling articles for 5 bucks a pop on cheap content sites. Getting the level of content that will make a difference in your marketing means being serious enough about your business to invest in professional writing.
  2. Don’t write for the search engines, write for human beings. That means decent grammar, a logical flow, and an easy structure that moves readers quickly through the content. Remember, the search engines don’t buy from you, people do — but they won’t if your content is slipshod.
  3. Outsource your content whenever possible. This will increase efficiency (as long as you choose content providers carefully), and thus marketing ROI.

Do you have a formal content marketing strategy? Let me know how it has impacted your marketing efforts…

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How to use search and social media marketing to understand your market

Using search and social media marketing to understand your target marketAccording to Jonathan Lawoyin in Target marketing magazine, understanding your clients in today’s marketing climate means understanding their behavior online. And that’s where search and social media marketing can come in very handy.

How to use search and social media marketing to understand your target market

What Are They Searching For?
Searcher behavior and keyword trends can be a gold mine of insights into your target audience. There are many tools that businesses can use to uncover this information, including:

  • Google AnalyticsOpens in a new window for insights into keywords that have driven traffic to your website;
  • Adwords Search Query ReportOpens in a new window for a look into the actual search terms that trigger your ads, remember, it is impossible to cover every single keyword a searcher will type; and
  • Google TrendsOpens in a new window for insights into trending keyword theme.

Insights from these tools can help marketers develop more comprehensive keyword lists, better optimize paid search campaigns and achieve greater value from search engine optimization initiatives.

However, these insights can be used in areas other than search. Identifying keyword themes and trends over time can guide the content you develop and share with your followers as you strive to engage them via social media. My team continuously researches emerging keyword opportunities to maximize reach.

Apart from the superstar keywords that every marketer likes to focus on, why not find related subjects that people are searching and blog about them? If you are in the auto industry, your audience may not always be looking to buy a car, but who says they aren’t interested in a blog post on the top 10 celebrity cars of 2011? Keyword research can help you find such topics, which help you create more compelling content, and the result is more likes, tweets/retweets, comments and the like. Each of these is an indicator of value.

What Are They Saying?
The increasingly interactive nature of the web has created one of the most effective tools a marketer could wish for—an ever-present focus group of consumers who have experienced your brand or product and have something to say about it. It is absolutely crucial to monitor the conversation around your brand, products and competition, and use insights to facilitate meaningful engagement.

There are a myriad of tools to help you understand what people are saying. These tools range in price from thousands of dollars per month to free (BoardreaderOpens in a new window, Google AlertsOpens in a new window and Twitter SearchOpens in a new window, to name a few). Understanding what people are saying and how they perceive you is crucial to developing your online marketing strategy. This may impact your overall goals—maybe you find out that you need to change perception—or it may impact how you choose the keywords you’d like to rank for. Either way, understanding the language your audience uses when searching for your products and describing your business is crucial.

Understanding what people are saying is also vital for another reason: so you can give people what they want…

See the rest of the article here. How is social media marketing helping you better understand your sporting lodge or inn market?

Social Media for Inn Marketing and Lodge Marketing

Twitter icon, social media for inn marketing and lodge marketingIn a recent article in TripWire Magazine, writer Tara Horner, provides essential tips for social media inn marketing and lodge marketing. While not written specifically for lodges, guest ranches or B&B hospitality businesses, the principles apply just as well.

All in all, this is a well-written, helpful article. However, I do have to disagree with the writer’s assessment that social media can be a great marketing tool because it’s “free”.

Not only is social media marketing not FREE, the costs associated with it can be significant if not approached properly.

When all is said and done, social media marketing is going to cost you in one of two ways: either in time, or in money.

If you try to manage your own social media marketing, plan to invest a significant amount of time into it—that is if you want to do it right and actually see increased sales from it.

If you don’t want to invest your own time, you’ll need to hire someone else (either an employee or consultant) to handle it for you and that’s going to cost you money.

That being said, this article provides an excellent starting point for social media inn marketing and lodge marketing

One of the keys to building a business is through the use of advanced social media marketing tactics. Unlike traditional marketing techniques, such as postcards or print ads, social media does not have to cost a penny, thus increasing your chances of a high return of investment. Anyone can set up a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and a Google+ page for his business. Using these effectively however is an entirely different story.

Advanced social media marketing goes beyond the obligatory account setup and occasional posting. It means connecting both with people and leveraging the latest technologies, like search engine optimization, to get the most out of every post or update. With that in mind, here are some ways to take your social media marketing to the next level…

…you should integrate online and offline marketing so that your social media addresses will become as known as your company name. On business cards, postcards, in magazine ads, and even on billboards, include your Twitter name or mention your Facebook name. To really push your social media accounts, consider a Quick Response code that leads to your social media account, especially if the print media is advertising a contest or other event, relevant topics to your social media page.

Get involved in social media on a local level by adding your permanent business address to Google Maps and yellow page sites. It will increase your likelihood of being found much more quickly through search engines. How does this relate to your social media sites? People share and comment on map locations. Your Facebook page can include your Google map location. FourSquare is another example of where maps can be useful as people socialize by checking into locations and sharing on other social media sites. If you’re location isn’t listed, you’ll be missed out!

I included this last paragraph in this excerpt because even though your sporting lodge, outfitting business, B & B, or guest ranch needs to reach a national audience, having a presence in Google Places, and local and mobile directories will lend an air of credibility and solidity that’s of paramount important for website visitors who do not yet know you.

See the original article for the rest of the tips.

Which social media inn marketing and lodge marketing techniques are you using now? How have they helped, or hindered, your marketing efforts?